Hairy Ticks of Dune

There's only room enough in this stillsuit for one of us! ... Wait, come back!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Email Interview with Kevin J. Anderson


You made it clear yesterday that further exchanges would be a waste of both your time and mine, but I am going ahead and sending these questions along since the thing had already achieved some momentum on the BBS. You can ignore them or answer at your leisure, as you choose. (I have indicated the source for questions not my own, and have edited as I saw fit.)


Re: The new Dune novels

Q. Many fans of the original Dune novels have criticised your collaborative efforts as being inconsistent with the original novels by Frank Herbert. While some points are debatable at best, others seem to be clear inconsistencies, such as:

- There is only a single line in the original series that indicates the possibility that No-technology results in invisibility to the naked eye (For brief moments when they disgorged troops, no-ships were visible and vulnerable. [Chapterhouse]), yet there are numerous lines that indicate the ships are visible to the naked eye, perhaps the most prominent being
"The no-ship sat there creaking, a glistening steely ball whose presence could be detected by the eyes and ears but not by any prescient or long-range instrument. Teg's doubled vision made him confident that no unwanted eyes saw his arrival"
in HERETICS. Why was the decision made in the Prequels to present all no-technology as truly invisible to the naked eye? (re: the secret attack in the Guildship made to look like an Atreides attack) (Tleilax Master B)


- Teg's ability to slow down time seems to be a secret, whereas in CHAPTERHOUSE DUNE, both Sheanna and Duncan observed it and Duncan, Odrade and others discussed it with Teg afterwards. (Schu)

- It is revealed to us in HUNTERS that Scytale's body is failing prematurely. Yet in HERETICS it is indicated that Mirlat is very old based on the heavy cartilage build up in the jaw line. (For reference:
Mirlat no doubt aspired to Abdl and Mahai.
Waff focused on the councillor's wide jaws where the cartilage had grown over the centuries as a visible mark of his current body's great age.)
Based on this, it does not appear that this shortened life span occurred in serial ghola Masters in the original series. Where did this come from? Was this in Frank's notes or was this an original creation? (Tleilax Master B)

- It is stated or implied several times that worms are the source of the spice on the no-ship even though this contradicts the main source of information on the worm life-cycle, the Ecology appendix to DUNE (spice comes from dried pre-spice mass exposed after spice-blows). What passage(s) from the original books do you base this interpretation on? Or is this from the notes?

- It is revealed that Daniel and Marty are in fact Omnius and Erasmus. You and Brian have stated that Frank's notes reveal that the old couple's "origins" date back to the Butlerian Jihad. In the last chapter of CHAPTERHOUSE, M and D are having a discussion (Note: alone...Duncan is not looking in on them at this point). In that chapter there are countless references to the role the Tleilaxu Masters played in the development of their "ability" to absorb personas and that this eventually led to their "independence". Any explanation that does not include the role of the Masters in their ability seems contradictory to that chapter. How do you explain this discrepancy? For reference:

"They had a Tleilaxu Master, too," Marty said.
"I saw him when they went under the net. I would have so liked to study another Master."
"Don't see why. Always whistling at us, always making it necessary to stomp them down. I don't like treating Masters that way and you know it! If it weren't for them . . ."
"They're not gods, Daniel."
"Neither are we."

"What would you have said to the Master, anyway?" Daniel asked.
"I was going to joke when he asked who we were. They always ask that. I was going to say: 'What did you expect, God Himself with a flowing beard?'"
Daniel chuckled. "That would've been funny. They have such a hard time accepting that Face Dancers can be independent of them."
"I don't see why. It's a natural consequence. They gave us the power to absorb the memories and experiences of other people. Gather enough of those and . . .")

(Tleilax Master B)

How do you respond to criticisms such as the above?

Q. How much (and if so what parts) of the books came from Brian's personal conversations with his father. It has been stated that Frank and Brian discussed writing something on the Butlerian Jihad together; what ideas came from those conversations, and what did you and Brian add to those ideas. (Omphalos)

Q. Is there anything in Frank Herbert's notes indicating that he planned to develop the character of Norma Cenva into the "super hero" we see in the Legends books and HUNTERS?

Q. You've stated that Mohiam being Jessica's mother was a Frank Herbert idea but that other aspects of the surrounding story were created by you and Brian. Were the rape scene and Mohiam giving the Baron the fattening disease in revenge based on anything in Frank Herbert's notes?

Q. What were the inspirations for the following two characters: Kailea Vernius and Mephistus Cru? (Chanilover)

Q. How do you and Brian check for consistency before you publish? Who checks the facts? How are those people cross-checked? With something as huge and complex as the Duniverse, have you ever considered some form of peer review? If so, why did you decide against it? (Omphalos)

Q. What is your view on "canon" in a fiction series? Is it simply a matter of copyright ownership, or is there more to it? The HLP has explicitly stated that the new Dune novels are canon. One could argue that only the original author can have a right to say what is canon and what is not. Do you think the HLP should govern what is canon, and do you think that one of the authors also being a member of the HLP represents a conflict of interest? (Schu)

Q. Are you still convinced that writing and publishing "Dune 7" after the House and Legends books was the right decision? (Sunnypuck)

Re: You (Questions of a more personal nature)

Q. What specific goals or motivations did you have in taking on the task of writing stories in the Duniverse? (Crysknife)

Q. You've mentioned listening to music while you work on your blog. Could you explain a bit more about how music influences your writing? (Poey)

Q. Have you been to the UK and did you like it? (Chanilover)



Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, so we shall see if there is any response. He'll probably respond to the rather harmless questions--such as have you ever been to the UK :) I doubt there will be any response to my questions [which I realize, now that I am reading them, were not well phrased--sorry :( ].

11:20 AM, April 25, 2007 

<< Home